Home News CIA director to meet with Israeli chief this weekend for ceasefire talks

CIA director to meet with Israeli chief this weekend for ceasefire talks


CIA Director William Burns, who has been the lead U.S. negotiator on ceasefire efforts in Gaza, plans to travel to Europe this weekend for talks with Israel’s foreign minister in an attempt to restart stalled negotiations over a pause in fighting and the release of hostages, according to a U.S. official and another person briefed on the talks.

Discontent between Hamas and Israeli officials erupted this month, with mediators including the United States, Qatar and Egypt shelving talks.

Israeli officials were unhappy with Hamas’ shifting negotiating stance, including the number of hostages released in the first phase. Hamas was unhappy with Israel’s actions in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which Always improving since.

But at the heart of the dispute is how to define a cessation of hostilities between Hamas and Israel, and how to implement the different stages of the ceasefire.

The talks are expected to resume in the coming days at an undisclosed location in Europe. It was not immediately clear whether Egyptian and Qatari negotiators would take part directly in the talks alongside Burns and David Banea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

However, a U.S. official said Burns had been in close contact with Egyptian and Qatari negotiators and that the mediator hoped to get the talks back on track.

In early May, mr burns engaged in shuttle diplomacy Egypt and Israel are trying to push for a first-phase deal that would include a phased release of hostages and a temporary cessation of fighting.

Talks in the coming days are expected to be the first since the conclusion of this round of negotiations. While it’s unclear what Mr Burns’ new talks will achieve, the resumption of talks is a noteworthy development for now.

U.S. officials say a deal to trade a ceasefire for hostages is needed to advance all other diplomatic efforts by both sides, including discussions on establishing a postwar government in Gaza and a larger deal to create a Palestinian state that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia want Israel to agree to.

But Israeli military operations in Rafah continue to complicate the situation. The more aggressive Israel acts there, the less willing Hamas is to negotiate.

Some U.S. officials say Israel is heeding their advice on how to mitigate some civilian casualties – which have led to an erosion of international support for Israel, which has killed more than 35,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

On Wednesday, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said he was optimistic that Israel had so far not carried out the kind of large-scale operations in Rafah that the United States feared. But questions remain about exactly what Israel’s long-term intentions are with respect to Rafah.

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